Rebecca McDougal


  • Phone: +64 7 343 5534
  • Email: Show email
  • Team: Forest Protection
  • Role: Research Leader, Forest Pathology


Dr Rebecca McDougal is a microbiologist specialising in forest pathology. Her role is to apply molecular biology techniques in forest diagnostics, characterising pathogen populations and disease management.


  • PhD (Microbiology), University of Otago, New Zealand - 2007
  • MSc (Microbiology), University of Otago, New Zealand - 2002
  • BSc (Microbiology), University of Otago, New Zealand - 2000

Research capabilities

  • Forest pathology and biosecurity research
  • Molecular diagnostics of forest tree diseases
  • Genetic diversity of fungal/oomycete populations
  • Pathogen genomics, transcriptomics and environmental microbial diversity

Selected papers

Hood, I. A., R. L. McDougal, C. Somchit, M. O. Kimberley, A. S. R. Lewis and J. O. L. Hood (2018). Fungi decaying the wood of fallen beech (Nothofagus) trees in the South Island of New Zealand. Canadian Journal of Forest Research. doi: 10.1139/cjfr-2018-0179.

Bulman, S. R., R. L. McDougal, K. Hill and G. Lear (2018). Opportunities and limitations for DNA metabarcoding in Australasian plant-pathogen biosecurity. Australasian Plant Pathology 47(5): 467-474.

Brar, S., J. F. Tabima, R. L. McDougal, P.-Y. Dupont, N. Feau, R. C. Hamelin, P. Panda, J. M. LeBoldus, N. J. Grünwald, E. M. Hansen, R. E. Bradshaw and N. M. Williams (2018). Genetic diversity of Phytophthora pluvialis, a pathogen of conifers, in New Zealand and the west coast of the United States of America. Plant Pathology 67(5): 1131-1139.

Ozturk, I. K., P. Chettri, P. Y. Dupont, I. Barnes, R. L. McDougal, G. G. Moore, A. Sim and R. E. Bradshaw (2017). Evolution of polyketide synthesis in a Dothideomycete forest pathogen. Fungal Genet Biol 106: 42-50.

Hunter, S., Glen, M., & McDougal, R. (2016). Molecular tools for differentiating Cyclaneusma minus morphotypes and assessing their distribution in Pinus radiata forests in New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Forestry Science, 46(1), 21. doi:10.1186/s40490-016-0080-0.

Mellow, K., Chettri, P., Kabir, S., McDougal, R. L., Cox, M. P., Stewart, A., Lange, C., Steyaert, J. M., & Bradshaw, R. E. (2016). Molecular markers for quantification of bioactive fungal strains associated with Pinus radiata. New Zealand Plant Protection, 69, 64-67.

Hunziker, L., Mesarich, C. H., McDougal, R. L., & Bradshaw, R. E. (2016). Effector identification in the pine pathogen Dothistroma septosporum. New Zealand Plant Protection, 69, 94-98.

Studholme, D. J., McDougal, R. L., Sambles, C., Hansen, E., Hardy, G., Grant, M., Ganley, R. J., & Williams, N. M. (2016). Genome sequences of six Phytophthora species associated with forests in New Zealand. Genomics Data, 7, 54-56. doi:

Baskarathevan, J., Taylor, R. K., Ho, W., McDougal, R. L., Shivas, R. G., & Alexander, B. J. R. (2016). Real-Time PCR Assays for the Detection of Puccinia psidii. Plant Disease, 100(3), 617-624.  doi:10.1094/PDIS-08-15-0851-RE

McDougal, R. L., Schwelm, A. and Bradshaw, R.E. 2011. Dothistromin biosynthesis genes allow inter- and intraspecific differentiation between Dothistroma pine needle blight fungi. Forest Pathology 41: 407-416.

McDougal, R. L., Yang, S., Schwelm, A., Stewart, A., and Bradshaw, R. E. 2011. A novel GFP-based approach for screening for biocontrol microorganisms in vitro against Dothistroma septosporum. Journal of Microbiological Methods 87: 32-37.

McDougal R., Stewart A., Bradshaw R. 2012. Transformation of Cyclaneusma minus with green fluorescent protein (GFP) to enable screening of fungi for biocontrol activity. Forests 3: 83-94.

Chettri, P, Calvo, A.M, Cary, J.W, Dhingra, S, Guo, Y, McDougal, R.L., Bradshaw, R.E. 2012. The veA gene of the pine needle pathogen Dothistroma septosporum regulates sporulation and secondary metabolism. Fungal Genetics and Biology 49: 141-151.

Bulman, L. S., Dick, M. A., Ganley, R. J., McDougal, R. L., Schwelm, A., & Bradshaw, R. E. 2013. Dothistroma Needle Blight. In Nicolotti, G. & Gonthier, P. (Eds.), Infectious Forest Diseases (pp. 436-457): CAB International.